Abuse of Internet by Zimbabweans out of control – By Bridget Tapuwa

The abuse is taking varying forms which include among others; the groundless slander through malicious postings on Zimbabwean news websites/articles, the launching and trading of scathing insults on undeserving Zimbabwean characters, the reproduction of unfounded rumors and also the making of false claims, such as even purporting to be or have been in love with certain personalities, such as female writers, protest singers, politicians, poets.

The perpetrators mostly make use of vulgar and offensive language in their false and inflammatory postings. They cunningly exploit this in their attempt to discredit or negatively impact on one’s activity or works. The tone in their insulting remarks also exposes their motive, which is basically to suppress sound criticism, and also thwart any potential they visualize as vested in one.

The perpetrators are quite easy to detect, as they tend to appear under such weird sounding and odd names. BritaVoice is not at all calling out for the prohibition of pseudonyms, but all she is denouncing is the abuse of a pseudonym, which is quite an issue.

It is quite difficult to imagine the mentality of such perpetrators.

It is worth highlighting that most of the scathing attacks by these Zimbabweans tend to be targeted at the fearer sex, the woman. There are many Zimbabwean writers, analysts and activists but when it is the woman, then these perpetrators seem to develop goose pimples, to them it becomes an issue that is worth exuding negative energies on.

Attributes that are befitting to describe the perpetrators are; they are not only very shallow minded, but silly and stupid too. Would one be wrong to read through them, some kind of desperation and frustration too? Desperation to thwart the gradual flowing in of freedom in Zimbabwe? Freedom, which knows no gender, race, political affiliation.

When the perpetrators feature as men, to attack a female in her works, one can conclude that they are male chauvinists who are sadly so, still living by the old mentality and thinking that the woman’s place is nowhere other than the kitchen, and also in the bathroom corner where she changes the diaper. Sometimes, the perpetrators are however, sadly so also other fellow women, possibly suffering from some form of frustration, and the only route to release the frustration maybe through the internet.

To the perpetrator, the holding of political office, protest singing, critical writing, and any so related fields, are no go areas for women. Any slight movement beyond the parameters and boundaries they stipulated is utterly unacceptable. The molding of the Zimbabwean woman by the perpetrator and the success in not having her move out of the shape which they deem is right gives the perpetrator self aggrandizement.

Those who opt to move beyond the boundaries and lines they have marked and drawn risk being pounced upon through their vitriolic vicious attacks. They behave and function just like the Dictator himself, Mugabe you know. And so you would not be mistaken to club them as the CIO’s.

Or else, if a woman ventures in what they have defined as not the woman’s domain, then they want her works to be very simple, ordinary and maybe scrap too. Sophistication does not exist in their world. Zimbabwean female blogger, BritaVoice has fallen victim to some of this abuse. These perpetrators feel threatened and are jealous of the outstandingly sophisticated approach to her works, and also her vibrant analytical skills.

These perpetrators will sit behind the screen posting, reposting and circulating all sorts of these malicious articles until you begin to dance in concert with their tunes. Which is the reason I write to you today?

Let it not come as a shock to you that, most of these perpetrators maybe men of ‘decency’ in the social circles; a family man of twelve or so kids, who demands respect from his kids in the home, ‘Baba’ these innocent kids call him, but behind the ‘scenes’ this ‘Baba’ will sit behind the screen till his back burns, posting, reposting, deleting, reposting dirty statements.

Victims are normally labeled all sorts of names, a ‘hure, a mvana’. The perpetrator will coin up such varied insults, let you be informed that, if such energies were exuded for a justifiable cause such as highlighting the plight that still befalls the vulnerable Zimbabwean, many souls would find appeasement. Under one piece of writing, the perpetrator can appear 20 times or so. The other condition they tend to stipulate is if you want them to sing praises about you and your works, they demand you fall in love with them.

I am almost cock sure that the greater number of these perpetrators are Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, given that in Zimbabwe, most have very limited access to internet, with the frequent power cuts, the frequent cutting off from internet service due to delayed payments and the extremely high rates of accessing internet which generally drives many away.

Zimbabwe is a country of big rumours and slanders, a shameful remnant from our tough struggle to get out of colonization, and then as if that was not enough, only to find ourselves embraced in Mugabe’s rough dictatorial arms. This partly explains the origins of this shameful abuse of the internet. Rumor mongering and slenderizing in Zimbabwe, still rampant in this age and era of freedom of speech, only but goes to show that for Zimbabweans, real and total freedom is still miles away. For many, the grasping of what freedom of speech entails is still a dream. Let it be intimated to them, that freedom of speech is no license to abusing of the God given tongue.

What an enormous burden these abusers are vesting on Zimbabwe’s civil society who are tasked with sensitizing them; whose thinking is still in the dark ages. Zimbabwe’s civil society to teach such on ethics and etiquette. And here the emphasis being on how a Zimbabwean is to carry themselves with dignity and respect even overnight behind the screen of anonymity.

Whilst, I am not an IT guru, I however am of the opinion that there is a way for the website moderators of the different news sites, to ban these Zimbabwean internet abusers from posting unethical statements. That way, a news website, will also have a lot to gain through maintaining its dignity.

Need it not be reiterated again and again that the Zimbabwean woman just like her male counterpart has every right to enter into any discipline she cherishes, longs and aspires for, be it writing, singing, dancing. She is free to dance in concert with the demands of her soul. She is free to express her opinion and views in line with the ideals she visualizes regarding a better new Zimbabwe. And no one will stop her from meeting her ideals.

Differences in opinion are very healthy in a democratic society, but, stupid and silly scathing attacks are unwarranted and uncalled for.

Choose to be smart.